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Marquette Beats Creighton, And That’s All That Matters

Sometimes it’s about the result and not the process, because the process was awful.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Creighton vs Marquette
Lauren Van Kleunen finished with 10 points after her last second game winner.
Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s safe to say that of all the possible ways in the universe for a team to win a basketball game, Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball picked the absolute worst one to beat Creighton Bluejays, 52-50, at the McGuire Center on Sunday afternoon.

To wit:

  • Fall behind 9-0 right out of the gate in the first four minutes, missing their first eight shots of the game and committing two turnovers.
  • Trail 14-6 at the end of the first quarter with a very good three-point shooting team only knocking down two of their 10 long range attempts in the period.
  • Let the Bluejays score the first five points of the second quarter to fall behind by 13 before 60 seconds wound off the clock
  • Pull back within five over the next three minutes, but then spend the final six minutes of the quarter letting Creighton go back up 13.
  • Open the third quarter on a 19-2 run that takes eight minutes and 20 seconds and leaves Marquette with a 38-34 lead.
  • Ultimately only allow Creighton to score four total points in the third quarter but because of the halftime deficit, that only left Marquette up by two with 10 minutes to play.
  • Take a four point lead repeatedly in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, but allow the Bluejays to wipe that out and take a 46-45 lead with 2:32 to go.
  • Require the only made shot of the game from Claire Kaifes and just her second made three-pointer of the season and sixth field goal of the season to take a two point lead with 2:13 to go.
  • Fail to capitalize on two of the nine missed shots in the quarter by the Bluejays and send Tatum Remabo to the line to tie the game at 48 with 55 seconds left to play.
  • Take a lead on the ensuing possession thanks to Selena Lott, but give up an offensive rebound and putback to Rachael Saunders on the other end to tie the game with 20 seconds left.
  • Use nearly every possible tick of the clock to sink this game winner from Lauren Van Kleunen.
  • Unfortunately, it wasn’t every possible tick of the clock, leaving a teeny tiny chance for Jaylyn Agnew to tie the game one more time but she missed it.

It wasn’t great! It’s a win, but it was not good and or fun in the slightest! Marquette scored just 0.61 points per possession in the first half and they only managed to drag that up to 0.81 by the time 40 minutes were finished. A 42.6% effective field goal percentage is nothing to write home about even if they did hit 58% in the second half and Kaifes’ triple in the fourth quarter was their only long range shot of the half. Marquette turned the ball over 17 times in this game, and with just 64 possessions played, that works out to 27% of the time. It was only 26% of the time in the first half, so somehow, even with everything that was going right for the Golden Eagles after intermission, they were still more careless with the ball than in the first half. Two offensive fouls — one by Van Kleunen and one by Lott, with that one coming with less than two minutes to play — did not help at all, and that offensive foul by Lott was her seventh turnover of the game. According to my actuarial charts, seven turnovers by one player in a 64 possession game is.... let me double check..... yes, it’s bad.

We can’t praise Marquette’s defense completely in this game, as the Bluejays were chugging along A-OK in the first half before the Golden Eagles locked them up like bank robbers that leave behind their passports in the vault in the second half. We can, however, point out that Marquette’s rebounding was fantastic in this game. 39% of MU’s misses, and there were a few of them here, ended up back in Golden Eagle arms, led by three from Lott and two each from Altia Anderson and Camryn Taylor. Marquette also did a number on Creighton’s glass all game long, holding the Bluejays to rounding up just 14% of their missed shots. Isabelle Spingola didn’t have her shot working for her in this game, sinking just one of her seven attempts and none of the three from outside, but she did snare eight defensive rebounds for a game high in that department, and Lott added five to the cause.

Marquette is now 8-3 in Big East play, which has them in second place and a half-game in front of Butler and two games behind DePaul in the standings. The game was bad, but the win was incredibly important, as the Bluejays had just handed the 11th ranked Blue Demons their first loss in Big East play on Friday night. Creighton did that without the services of Jaylyn Agnew, who had missed the last four games for the Jays, but made her return in this game to bolster their depth after rallying from down 20 at the half to beat DePaul.

How about some highlights, courtesy of the Big East Digital Network?

Up Next: The win over the Bluejays wrapped up a four game homestand for the Golden Eagles, so they’ll be out on the road next weekend. They’ll be in the New York City area starting on Friday evening with a game against Seton Hall that will be televised on FS2, and that will be followed up with a Sunday afternoon game against St. John’s. Both the Pirates and the Red Storm are a game behind the Golden Eagles at 7-4 in the conference standings right now, so next weekend presents a major opportunity for Marquette to establish themselves in the top half of the league as we wind our way towards the Big East tournament.